We are now less than two months away from the first fixture postponements that will likely result in some Premier League teams facing two matches in one Fantasy Premier League (FPL) gameweek (GW) – the fabled Double Gameweek (DGW). Ruth_NZ has been preparing for the doubles and shares his thoughts here:
This week I started looking in more depth at the DGW season and in particular the option of playing the bench boost chip in a DGW whilst having 15 DGW players in your squad. This is what I found.
The biggest DGW is likely to be GW34. It will be caused by the FA Cup quarter finals on 12th March and the re-scheduled Premier League games are highly likely to be played in GW34 on 19th/20th April. There are therefore two things to navigate here:
- A blank GW for up to 16 teams in GW30 (most likely eight to 12); and
- A DGW four weeks later in GW34 for up to 16 teams (most likely eight to 12).
The first thing to note is that a wildcard to focus your squad on eight to 12 teams should not be problematic, neither should it constitute “wrecking” your team. It should be perfectly possible to wildcard in GW32 (for GW33), select a squad that has good fixtures and prospects in GW33 and gives you 15 DGW players when you bench boost in DGW34. You can also plan ahead to the end of season (six gameweeks in total) in terms of fixtures and with so many teams to choose from that shouldn’t be difficult. So far, so good.
The problem is that some teams (probably six to eight) will then have a blank GW in GW35, caused by the FA Cup semi finals. These will include the semi-finalists themselves plus their GW35 opponents. These teams will then have a DGW in GW37. The big issue will be navigating the blanks immediately after DGW34.
It should be possible to plan for this. The GW35 blank games will be known after the quarter finals are settled (12th March, or 22nd March if replays are required) – in other words long before you play the GW32/33 wildcard. In addition, if you wildcard in GW32 for GW33 and bench boost in GW34, you will then have two free transfers in place to use for ‘blank’ GW35. But you will face the challenge of having a good GW35 team whilst keeping (benched) some players you will want for DGW37. That could be somewhat awkward, although you will have a further two free transfers to use before GW37. Injuries or suspensions at that time could be a serious wrecking ball to what will necessarily be some quite precise planning. It will be tricky to avoid hits. Some FPL managers will take lots of hits.
Here is the route through DGW season from start to finish:
1. 27th January (GW23) – League Cup finalists are confirmed; they and their opponents will have a blank in GW27 when the final is played. On 27th January, or sometime after, the dates for games needing to be rescheduled from GW27 will be announced.
2. If the League Cup finalists (or their GW27 opponents) are still involved in the FA Cup as well it would not be at all unlikely to see one or both of these games brought forward as the available slots for re-scheduled games later on are severely limited. One possibility would be 9th/10th February (GW25). Another would be Monday 22nd February (GW26) but only if the teams concerned are neither involved in the FA Cup fifth round (20th/21st) nor in a Champions League fixture on 23rd or 24th February. So, GW25 could be the first potential DGW (two or four teams).
3. February 20th (GW26), FA Cup fifth round games are played and the FA Cup quarter finals are known (subject to any replays needed – these may themselves be hard to schedule due to lack of slots). FPL managers can begin planning for the decimated GW30 Premier League schedule which will likely involve blanks for eight to 12 teams.
4. February 28th (GW27) – League Cup final played and up to four teams have a GW27 blank. These Premier League games may have been brought forward and played early (see above).
5. March 12th (GW30) – FA Cup quarter finals played alongside the decimated GW30 schedule which could easily be as few as four games. Getting a good FPL team out in GW30 will be very tricky. The teams that will have a blank GW in GW35 and (almost certainly) a DGW in GW37 will now become clear (subject to any replays needed).
6. March 12th (GW30) – those not planning to wildcard in GW32/33 can begin to shape their squad for DGW34. They will ideally need to go into GW30 with a saved free transfer and they will ideally need to go into GW35 with a saved free transfer as well (because some DGW34 teams will have blanks in GW35). That means they will have maximum four free transfers to use to prepare for DGW34, any more transfers will be hits. That may or may not matter depending on how many players they want/need to bring in. Those planning to wildcard in GW33 to prepare for DGW34 can rest easy and continue as usual.
7. April 2nd (GW32) – wildcarders who want to bench boost in DGW34 should activate the wildcard and assemble their team for GW33 and DGW34. They should aim to be making no transfers in GW33 so they have two free transfers available coming out of the DGW.
8. April 9th (GW33) – wildcarders not planning to use their bench boost in DGW34 should activate the wildcard and set up their DGW34 teams but with a view to handling the blanks in GW35 with only one free transfer available. It would also be possible to wildcard out of DGW34 but with only the ‘short’ GW35 (including blanks for five to eight teams) and GW36 to play before DGW37 this would in effect amount to wildcarding into DGW37 instead of DGW34 and the same pattern applies.
9. April 16th and 19th/20th – the big DGW34, which could see as many as 12 teams (or even more) playing twice.
10. After that it should be fairly plain sailing, there will only be the blanks in GW35 and the smaller DGW37 to navigate and the pattern is a repeat of the one above.
DGW season is going to be the trickiest and most interesting part of the FPL calendar. It is going to take very good planning and some fine-line decision-making between maximising the DGWs and the use of the second wildcard, bench boost and triple captain chips and maintaining a successful FPL squad in ‘ordinary’ GWs and in GWs with a reduced number of games being played.
It would appear that wildcarding into DGW33 is a good strategy if you want to bench boost in DGW34. It would also be possible to do the same into DGW37 (though the constraints on team selection will be tighter then if you want 15 DGW players). But the GW36 wildcard for DGW37 (or GW35 if you want to bench boost in DGW37) does have the merit of being less disruptive – basically you will then only have GW36, DGW37 and GW38 to plan for.
As for the triple captain? A DGW when you are neither playing wildcard nor bench boost I think. There certainly will be some options to choose from.